Why Are You Reading This Post?

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Have you ever thought about the power of the question “why?” No wonder toddlers liberally shake it over every possible situation they encounter.

Why can Grandmother take out her teeth?
Why does that man ride in a wheelchair?
Why can’t I have cookies for breakfast?
Why does our grass turn brown in the winter?
Why do birds fly?
Why is that boy’s hair long like a girl?

Often we wish for a mute button when they throw out comments in public places like, “Why are your legs shaking when you are squatting over that potty?”

But they have it right. The keys to understanding the world around us are the answers to the question why.

The right answer to why can repair a marriage, release a prisoner, soothe hurt feelings and save a life.

So many people walk around with chips on their shoulders and their defense walls up, because they don’t take the time to learn the answers to that all-important question. Because understanding that shoots straight to the heart of the matter.

Let’s talk about a situation I’m sure you’ve all experienced. You are walking in the mall/grocery store/church, and you see an acquaintance in the distance. You guys are Facebook friends. You know her dad just had surgery, and her son left for college. You know she accidentally wore her slippers out shopping last week. You know her. You are walking towards each other, but you keep your eyes down to avoid that awkward waving from a long distance away that continues a little too long as you wait to get closer.

You are waiting for just the right moment to look up and make eye contact. You’ll ask how her son is doing and laugh about the slippers. When you get within chatting distance, you raise your eyes towards her, but she looks straight ahead and walks right by you.

Ever happened to you?

And then you wonder why you are “friends” on Facebook if you don’t even speak in real life.

Here is where that question comes into play. Why?

You can be mad and act accordingly towards this friend, or you can consider why she walked right past you.

It could be:
-your friend was so worried you wouldn’t recognize her, she looked straight the entire time to avoid the rejection of not being known. She never saw you make eye contact.
-your friend just received some bad news about a family member. She was lost in thought.
-your friend is bad with names and remembered your face but not your name and was embarrassed.

Are you starting to see where I’m going? Knowing the “why” changes everything. For the teacher, knowing why a student is acting out helps her to understand how to best meet his or her needs. For the spouse, knowing why your mate is in a bad mood may help you to be more forgiving and not take things so personal. For the parent, knowing why your child is pitching a fit will help you to diffuse the situation.

“Why” is the motivation behind behavior – and that motivation is directly connected to the heart. It’s how God sees the world. I often pray that God would help me to see things the way He does. Guess what He revealed? He is always considering the “why” of the matter.

“Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 HCSB

You see, that one little question is what will save this world.

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Why?
Why did God send His only Son to die on the cross?

Why? Because He loves you and me that much.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.“ John 3:16 NIV

Want to live a happier life? Want to get along more with people? Want to have a better marriage? Want to have eternal life?

Start asking the important question. Just one.

Why?

Carol

Mud Walking or Avoiding God’s Call

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Have you ever tried to run in a pool or walk through thick mud? It’s like you’re in slow motion. No matter how much effort you put into it, you can’t speed up the process. There have been times in both my personal life and my ministry where I’ve felt like a pool runner or a mud walker.

You know the feeling. You work and work and work to make things happen but everything you do is a dead end or needs to be redone or never gets completed. And it leaves you feeling exhausted and discouraged.

Today, I was reading a passage in Haggai (yes, Haggai) that really spoke to this situation. Let me fill you in on the back-story of this passage.

The Israelites had been in captivity many years but had finally returned to their homeland. During their capture and exile, the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. This was Solomon’s beautiful temple – the one covered in gold and jewels. When the people returned, they started to rebuild the temple but experienced some opposition from the foreigners living with them in the land so they stopped and just started doing life.

God wanted to know why they had built themselves fine houses, while His house was in ruins.

“And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, while all of you are busy building your own fine houses.” Haggai 1:9 NLT

Let me give you the life application part of this story: Ever worked to make your home or family life great by either cleaning, organizing, decorating, buying new fun toys, etc. while your spiritual life or God’s calling on your life is abandoned?

Let me be clear. I’m not saying you should abandon your family for a calling on your life. That is not from God. Your family is a ministry, as well. But. I am saying God comes first! Time spent with Him and cleaning your heart should not take second place to all the “stuff” with which we become consumed. Clean your heart before your house. Sometimes we tend to busy ourselves with things that aren’t really important because we are too afraid to face what God has really asked us to do.

When God blows away all the stuff you are working on, that’s a giant hint to re-evaluate what it is you are doing. In this story, Haggai gave the people the message from God to rebuild the temple.

The Bible says, “When they heard the words of the prophet Haggai, whom the Lord their God had sent, the people feared the Lord.” (v. 12) In other words, they praised or revered God.

Haggai then gave them this message: “I am with you, says the Lord.” (v. 13)
And this is my favorite part.

“So the Lord sparked the enthusiasm of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the enthusiasm of Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the enthusiasm of the whole remnant of God’s people. They began to work on the house of their God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” (v. 14)

I love the words “sparked the enthusiasm.” God got them excited about what He called them to do. Do you remember how He sparked the enthusiasm? Through His message – God’s Word.

What is your calling from God? Are you spinning your wheels trying to do everything else? Perhaps you feel like God is blowing away all you’ve done. Maybe, just maybe, it’s because you aren’t doing what He called you to do.

Go to His Word and let it spark enthusiasm in you today. It has certainly sparked some in me and challenged me to take a closer look at my life. In what areas do I feel frustration? Are those the ones where I’m not being faithful to my calling?

Can I pray with you today?

Lord, thank you for your Word. Thank you for speaking to us through it. God, may your words spark enthusiasm in each of us for the task you’ve set before us. Renew in each of us what it is you’ve called us to do, so we don’t feel like we are walking in mud. Use each of us to bring you glory. Amen.

*photo credit

Carol